Der Lauf der Dinge (1987)
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Looks like one of the artists has shown in the Bay Area in the past, would be nice to see more stuff like this without traveling to the collegiate Rube Goldberg competitions.
Youtubing around looks like there may be a Japanese TV show that offers contraptions like this...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1kvdq8cRNBM&feature=related We are all dominoes...
This ~20 minute film records the progress of a series of energy transfers between familiar objects (kinetic, thermal, electrical, chemical). It will be familiar to anyone who has seen the Honda 'Cog' advert except that that sequence used mainly kinetic energy transfers. (Apparently the advert is 'inspired by' the film but not based on it).
It's amusing but not jaw-droppingly attention-grabbing to anyone who's already seen 'Cog'. Unfortunately it's rather repetitive and slow by comparison with 'Cog', but it was first and had a zero budget instead of Cog's 6 million pound one.
I still like 'The Way things go' though as it does have very nice touches (rocket powered and arrested burning car tyres!)and is probably the most entropic cross between 'Mousetrap' and toppling rows of dominos imaginable.
One thing I will add is that makes it especially satisfying - this Rube Goldberg contraption - is that many of the little tasks at intervals in the process that's filmed look as though they won't come off, and just barely seem to make it, adding suspense. I guess a Rube Goldberg device is usually on the quick side, but Der Lauf der Dinge is actually very slow and that essentially for the purpose of wonderful little cliffhangers within this short piece.
I caught it once in the late 80ss screening before a feature. I can't for the life of me remember what I went to see it with. And people writing recall details I don't remember at all. It would seem to be about time to track this little film down and luxuriate in its oddly ordered little world once again!!